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PHILADELPHIA NEWS

DEA Announces Release of First Statewide Drug Overdose Assessment for Pennsylvania

NOV 17 (PHILADELPHIA) – Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division announced today the publication of a statewide Drug Overdose Assessment for Pennsylvania. The report, entitled “Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2014,” is the first comprehensive assessment of deaths caused by drugs for the commonwealth.

“Drug-related overdose deaths are increasing nationwide; as such, it is imperative for law enforcement to maintain awareness of the drugs of abuse in the communities that we serve. Deaths that result from the abuse or misuse of illicit street drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals are of particular interest to the DEA and our law enforcement partners, as they reflect the most malicious way the illegal drug trade damages and destroys lives,” said Tuggle. 

DEA received information from 62 of the state’s 67 counties on 2,497 deaths caused by the misuse of illicit drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals. Heroin was the most frequently identified drug (more than 51 percent of deaths), and more than 60 percent of the decedents showed the presence of an opioid. Also of note, 12 rural counties were among the 20 counties with the highest rate of drug-related deaths per 100,000 people.

DEA worked collectively with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control, the Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and coroners and medical examiners throughout Pennsylvania on this assessment.

SAC Tuggle acknowledged these organizations by saying “DEA will continue efforts, in conjunction with our law enforcement and public health partners, to define and address the factors impacting availability, use, and abuse of illicit drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals in Pennsylvania.”

The full report is available by following the link to the Analysis of Drug Related Overdoes Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2014.  Questions regarding this report may be addressed to DEA Field Intelligence Manager Laura A. Hendrick at (215) 861-3258 or DEAPhillyIntel@usdoj.gov


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